Jul 19, 2006
As I write, an enormous black cloud of smoke and smutt has engulfed fields surrounding the Camridgeshire village of Cottenham. The fire allegedly started by a spark from working farm equipment quickly fed on the tinder-dry fields backing on to the yard and smoke has reached as far as the village High Street.
The emergency services were called with no fewer than ten engines in attendance in the last hour or two and dozens of firefighters attempting to get the flames under control in baking heat on a record-breakingly hot day in this part of the English countryside.
With many villagers living in outlying properties close to the burning fields there were serious concerns of smoke damage and even the risk of thatched residences suffering. A police helicopter continues to buzz the area presumably giving ground crews an aerial commentary of the path of the blaze.
Thankfully so far, there have been no serious casualties* and with the smoke being damped down it looks like the worst is over. For a quiet country village, there is still an awful lot of noise from police vehicles and firefighting units whailing in and out.
I am sure the local press will latch on to this fire and the souring temperatures much of England is experience of late as yet more evidence of global warming and climate change.
*Cambridge Evening News is now reporting that five firefighters were treated for heat exhausting after fighting the blaze, which engulfed 150 acres of standing crops and stubble. The paper lays the blame at the wheels of a combine harvester which generated a spark from a stone caught in its path. However, locals had reported that the fire allegedly started in the neighbouring breakdown recovery yard.
The last fire crew did not leave Cottenham until 10pm.